1. Athletics help a child learn to deal with authority.
Imagine that a young college graduate enters the workforce.
Because academia was always his focus, this is his first experience
as a subordinate.
Though he is well schooled and
competent, he has questions about how to best fulfill the
responsibilities associated with the job. Fresh on the job, he
is not comfortable approaching his boss and admitting his
uncertainties. He has a brilliant idea about running the office
more efficiently, but he is worried about stepping on toes.
Should he approach his boss, or just toe the line?
Now imagine that “the dragon lady” hires the young man.
She runs a tight ship, demands much, and pays little. She is
quick to snap and unwilling to forgive. By the end of his first
week, the young graduate feels a tight knot in his stomach
each time he steps foot into the door. He wonders whether he
should confront his boss or toe the line.
Regardless of a student’s career choices, one thing is for
certain: At some point or another, an athlete will need to contend
with an authority figure without the safety net of Mom
and Dad. Joining sports presents an opportunity for students
to begin learning to take direction and to communicate with
all different types of authority figures. Similar to bosses,
coaches come in every size and shape. Some are intense and
direct; others believe in positive reinforcement. Some are fair
and righteous; others make mistakes often.
“Participating in sports allows a child an opportunity
to approach an adult and express himself,” said Venturi-
Veenema, the athletic director of Regina Dominican High
School in Wilmette, Illinois. “It’s hard for a child to approach
an adult and say, ‘I have a problem,’ but sooner or later, every
child is going to have a problem that needs to be addressed.
Why not allow him to do this in the safest environment? Let
him stumble in the double safety net of parents and a school
system so that later, when Mom